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What You Need to Know About the New Jersey Building Code

The New Jersey building or construction code was acquired in 1977. This was done in an effort to give a uniform construction code across the whole state. Since 1977, there have been many changes that have been made to the actual administration of the code as well as the referenced regulations that were used in the code. The intent of the New Jersey building code is to promote and ensure the safety of everybody living or working within the state of New Jersey. Safety here including health, welfare and fire safety.

In New Jersey, the administration of construction is regulated by the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code. This regulation is what first helps determine most of the construction work that gets done in New Jersey. As mentioned, these regulations undergo frequent changes that are made by the State Legislation Authority and hence if you have any questions you would need to contact the building department in New Jersey to give you clarity.

In New Jersey, the most frequent construction projects that usually require permits are siding or roofing, finished basements, pool installations, water heater or furnace replacements, pool barriers (fences), decks and electrical service panel modifications. While permits are usually required before most construction work, it’s not all types of construction work that will need a permit. For instance, not every case of a patio paver will require a permit especially if the current grade isn’t being altered to create stairs or is the area next to the house being raised. However, if those will be altered, then you must get a construction permit from the local authority.

Do I Need to Use a Contractor for my Construction Projects?

Before answering that, let’s first take a look at some of the codes that are used to design a building in New Jersey. This is important as most of the work form these current codes have to be done by licensed New jersey roofers and contractors.

The current codes that have been adopted for the use of any type of building project in New Jersey include building subcode, plumbing subcode, electrical subcode, energy subcode, mechanical subcode, one-and-two- family dwelling subcode, fuel gas subcode, rehabilitation subcode, barrier-free subcode and elevator subcode.

With the subcodes listed, now let’s answer the above question. If the work you want to be done is for a house that you own and live in, then you have several options. As an individual, you are allowed to do some work in your house. In addition, you are allowed to get help to get the job done as long as you are supervising the work. However, this is permitted for a one or two family house that specifically owns and one that you reside in.

Secondly, you can hire a contractor as long as they are licensed to do the work that you want to be done. If you must get a contractor, then, by all means, they need to have the right license to do the task that you are bringing them to do. Currently, the license that are available include, Home Improvement Contractor’s License, Plumbing Contractor’s License, Electrical Contractor’s License, Fire Alarm Contractor’s License, and Fire Protection Contractor’s Certification License.

The Home Improvement Contractor law applies to any residential type of building or any of its part. Commercial properties, on the other hand, will require that any plumbing, fire protection or electrical work gets done by a licensed contractor.

Existing and New Buildings

When you are looking to do any work to an already existing building, the state of New Jersey will require you to abide by the Rehabilitation Subcode that is one of the codes the state adopted. The Rehabilitation Subcode basically deals with any work that can possibly be done on an existing building. This code has four categories – alteration, repair, reconstruction, and renovation.

As such, before you do any construction work to an already existing building, it’s important that you read through the four categories and see where they are applicable. The Rehabilitation Subcode lists all types of building and what work can be done. On the other hand, if one is buying a home or business, you will need to ensure that there are no open licenses for the lot and block of property you want to buy.

This is important because if you buy a property that has open permits, you automatically inherit all the outstanding issues that are linked with the property. Ensure that your agent checks for and verifies the permit status of the block you are interested in from the building department. In case you purchase a non-residential property and choose to alter the property’s business nature, you will need to submit to the building department a Continued Certificate of Occupancy.

New Building Construction Permits

If you’re constructing a new building from bottom-up, then you will need several permits. For this, it’s important to speak to your local building department to know exactly what will be required and how much they’ll cost. Besides having to abide by the construction code, you will also have to pay for some permits, some of which will be dependent on the square foot of the project or the dollar used in the whole project.

In order to get the appropriate permits, you will need to provide a completed application, a complete folder that has the applications, two sets of plans for construction work or construction documents as well as two sets of all the cuts/ specs form the different manufacturers of the different equipment or appliances that will be installed in the building.

The construction documents or plans will have to be signed and sealed by a licensed New Jersey designer. In case it’s for your one/two family home which you reside in and own, then you will be the one to draw up your own plans. All plans will need to have sufficient detail when submitted so as to determine code compliance and substantiate that you are knowledgeable when it comes to the code design requirements.

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